My phone rang the other day and when I answered it, the lady on the other end was surprised to hear my voice.

“You’re not dead?” she asked.

“I don’t think so,” I said, “but let me check.” I hollered to my wife, “Hey Janet! Am I dead?”

She answered, “No such luck!”

I spoke back into the phone. “No ma’am. Janet says I’m still kickin’.”

“Oh!” She exclaimed. “I am so sorry. I read your articles all the time and I Googled you and there was a post and it said that a couple of days ago you had gone to be with the Lord and I was calling to offer your wife my condolences.”

I assured her I was still alive and after we conversed for awhile, I Googled myself (That sounds dirty, don’t it) to see she was talkin’ about. What she had seen, was a reference about old article I had written about writin’ my own obituary.

Well, I figured y’all might like to reread it. Since I wrote it, nearly eight years ago, two more grandkids were added, my dad is no longer with us, and a couple of the dogs mentioned are also gone, but y’all probably could’ve fingered that out. Anywho, here it is.

I’ve had several people, here lately ask about how I got into writin’. They want to know how I come up with stories all the time. Heck, everyday is a new story.

A buddy of mine, Justin Lee, was one of those who asked that question. Like I told him, and like I’ve said all along, the only reason I write is to keep the voices away, and that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ with it. Justin laughed and said that he’d like to write my obituary.

Well, I thought that was a nice gesture, but that job was already spoken for. He asked who spoke for it, and I told him that I had. I wanted to write my own obituary. In fact, as much stuff that has been happenin’ to me here lately, I thought I might better get started, at least a rough draft, so here it is.

Rayburn (aka Rusty) Wesley Mitchum Jr. of New Harmony Texas went to be with the Lord a couple of days ago. His demise was brought about by (pick one):

a. His lawnmower fell on him.

b. He ran his lawnmower into the lake and he drown

c. He got bit by a rabid skunk and went insane (well, insaner, if that’s a word)

d. His wife of (fill in the blank) years shot him after she was overheard saying, “Prison couldn’t be as bad as this.”

He is survived by his wife of (fill in the blank) years Janet who will not be attending the funeral as she is getting ready for the biggest garage sale in the history of New Harmony (see the want ads and follow the garage sale signs as you are leaving the cemetery); one daughter and son-in-law, Michelle (aka Gator) and Richard Baetz; one son and daughter-in-law Rayburn (aka Wes, Ray, Rayburn) Wesley Mitchum III and Tammy; three grandchildren, Ty Baetz, Miranda Baetz and Grady Baetz; his dad Ray Mitchum; one sister and brother-in-law, Teri and Tony Patton; a whole mess of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews; and two grandweenie dogs, Chili and Gracie.

Being a lover of dogs, Rusty is preceded in death by the following canines. Bo, Sputnik, Aggie, Sarge, Bruiser, Duke, Bo II, Butch, Bandit (aka Putrid), Shadrah, Meshach, Abednego, Bones, Sheila, Ellie May, Rebel and a grandweenie dog Callie.

Rusty’s funeral will be held at New Harmony Baptist Church with Brother Robbie Caldwell officiating, because he drew the short straw.

Singing at the funeral will be Miranda Lambert, Allison Kraus, and Shania Twain (not really, but we are hoping by saying that they will be there, people will show up).

Rusty was employed as a sales agent (aka traveling salesman) by The Evans Group. They have already filled his position, which his boss Mike Evans said wasn’t hard. “An untrained chimp could do what Rusty did,” he was overheard saying.

Burial is pending, as they are having a hard time finding pallbearers (see want ads).

Rusty was born at an early age. He attended school, what for, no one knows. He holds the world record for burping the alphabet the most times in his fifth grade class. He also holds the world record for visiting the principal’s office the most times in the fifth grade. He is responsible for his former teachers forming a therapy group known as the “It’s five o’clocksomewhere group.”

His hobbies included, shooting, hunting, fishing, motorcycle riding, harmonica playing (all of his songs sounded like “Oh, Susanna!”) and sky diving (not really, but he wanted to sound cool).

All attending the funeral will be served barbeque ribs (not really, still trying to get people to show up).

Anyone who wants to tell stories about Rusty at the funeral (if anybody shows up) will be asked to refrain from profanity and no throwing rocks at the casket.

Rusty will be buried at the New Harmony Cemetery, as there is no more room in the pasture behind his house. It’s full of previously owned dogs.

In leau of flowers, donations can be made to the Rusty Mitchum Scholarship Fund for Hyperactive Adults or the Janet Mitchum Mental Health for Wives of Idiot’s Fund.

Hope to see y’all there … well, you know what I mean.

Rusty Mitchum lives in New Harmony, Texas, where he writes a regular column for The Lindale News and Times. He says the only reason he writes is to keep the voices away.